Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You Know... Before it Goes Bad...

Something rather unique to my family happened this past Christmas season - we overbought egg nog. This doesn't really sound like news, I know, but considering that the last two years we couldn't keep it in the house it's weird! Actually, overbuying anything never seems to be a problem here. If anything, we underbuy and then some poor suck has to drive out to the grocery store to pick up the missing item. The case in point usually tends to be concerning vegetables, like this week:
  • My mom and I bought 5 heads of iceberg, 1 big box of baby spinach and 3 heads of leaf lettuce on Saturday.
  • Yesterday was Tuesday. We were out of lettuce. Yeah, I know - take into account that the majority of that was consumed solely by my mother and I.
  • Last night featured an emergency grocery run to WalMart (only place open after my sister's riding class!).
  • We now have 2 (well, 1 1/2) more heads of iceberg and the same amount of leaf. This does not bode well.
Crazy, right? So when we found ourselves at the tail end of the holiday season with 3/4 of the only carton we bought (and nobody exactly first in line to gulp it down), I found myself with an ingredient that I was itching to use. Normally "special occasion" groceries are off limits to my baking (especially things like butter), but here it was whispering the possibilities: cake... muffins... ice cream... bread. But the fun-killer of rational thought popped up with the annoying truth: nobody will eat cake, or cookies, or ice cream.

True.

But muffins I can pawn off readily enough it seems. And - bonus - there was a rather black banana on the counter, and some cream cheese in the fridge that I knew worked well as a butter swap in a couple other cake-y type applications!

Nana - Nog Muffins
Makes 8
1/2 cup (1.7 oz) flour
2 tbsp (0.6 oz) whole wheat flour
3 tbsp (1 oz) vanilla custard powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
3 3/4 tbsp (2 oz) low-fat (not fat free) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 tbsp (0.7 oz) low-fat margarine
7 tbsp (3 oz) sugar
1 banana, mashed
1/2 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup egg nog
1/4 cup (1.5 oz) white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 400F, grease 9 muffin cups with nonstick spray (I don't reccommend lining them - they stick).
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together flours, custard powder, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium-large bowl, cream cream cheese, margarine and sugar.
  4. Add banana and vanilla, beat well to combine.
  5. Stir in half the flour mixture, followed by the egg nog.
  6. Add the remaining flour mixture and white chocolate chips mixing well.
  7. Bake for 17-18 minutes.
  8. Cool 5 minutes in the tins before turning out and cooling completely.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 157.9
Total Fat: 3.6 g
Cholesterol: 6.0 mg
Sodium: 74.9 mg
Total Carbs: 29.4 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g
Protein: 2.8 g
 
Come to think of it, I mused as the muffins cooled, my mom was going to need some more bread to take to work! Hmm, egg nog... holidays... Challah and cranberries maybe? I even had a way to ensure the basic enriched loaf I chose from my mom's copy of Bread Book by Susan Wright as a base recipe stayed nice and moist, without giving my mom a butter-laden guilt complex. I had one last jar of my roasted apple butter in the fridge, and it really was pushing it's "use-by" date too. What better swap to do?


It worked even better than I thought, really... the bittersweet apple butter tempered the sugary egg nog and lent it's touch of spice to the other ingredients I added to the dough, particularly the dried cranberries. After I told my mom her new loaf was in the works, I watched my mom eye it for a good 4 hours or so before she came to find me to ask "so, can I have a piece of this?". No, mom... you are forbidden from eating your own bread ;-)! It's a good thing I opted to do a second bready offering for her (after remembering she'd be on a business trip for two weeks, where toting along a whole loaf is a bit much) because I think I've hit a winner!

Double - Egg Snog Bread
Serves 20
2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp aniseseed, crushed lightly
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1 cup eggnog, warmed
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup apple butter
2 egg yolks
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 egg white, for glazing
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine flours, yeast, salt, aniseseed, nutmeg, cinnamon and ground flaxseed, whisking well.
  2. In another bowl, beat together eggnog, brown sugar, apple butter, and egg yolks.
  3. With the mixer running, add the liquids to the flour mixture and mix to form a smooth, soft dough - about 7 minutes.
  4. Add the cranberries and knead well to incorporate, about 3 minutes longer.
  5. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a rough ball. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.
  6. Shape dough into an oblong loaf and place on a lined baking sheet.
  7. Cover and allow to rise 1 - 1 1/2 hours, until doubled.
  8. Preheat oven to 350F.
  9. Brush the reserved egg white over the loaf.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes, then cover with foil and bake a further 20 minutes, until hollow-sounding when tapped.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 119.6
Total Fat: 2.0 g
Cholesterol: 28.4 mg
Sodium: 12.4 mg
Total Carbs: 22.3 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g
Protein: 3.6 g

This sweet treat is also my addition to Bread Baking Day #26: Birthday Party! hosted at Life's a Feast.

4 comments :

Catherine said...

LOVELY ideas! I have a carton of nog sitting in my refrigerator -very tempted to try one of these delicious-looking recipes! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

kat said...

Great use of the holiday leftovers!

Jamie said...

I so love your muffins and your bread and think they are fabulous recipes using up the egg nog and apple butter. I'll bet they taste so fabulous! And thanks so much for bringing them along to the BBD Birthday Party! Perfect!

bakingwithoutabox said...

I love this! I end up buying egg nog for holiday guests and then wondering what to do with the leftovers. Now I've got some inspiration!